Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Green Tea Noodles / Cha Soba

There are some days you want something simple, yet that you want to feel indulged ... here is a very simple spread that brings loads of flavor, you will be surprised how filling it is. Today I have used Cha soba, or Green tea noodles, that has a very delicate flavor and aroma.  I like Cha noodles as is without is being soaked in some kind of sauce that basically overwhelms the unique flavor of the noodles. So here, I have some perfect side dishes..

Ingredients :

Cha Soba / Green Tea Noodles - 1/2 pkt
Firm Tofu  - 6 sliced 1" wide
Carrots - 1 cup  Julienne cut
Zucchini - 1 cup  Julienne cut
Ginger - 1 tsp Julienne cut
Red Chili Powder - 1/2 tsp
Toasted Sesame Seeds -  1 tbsp
Soya Sauce

White Rice Vinegar

In a small bowl mix 2 tbsp of soya sauce, 1 tbsp of  rice vinegar and the red chili powder. In this mixture soak the  tofu piece and keep aside.
Follow the directions on the package to make the soba, once done remove to a colander, add some ice cubes to the noodles and let it sit until you are ready to serve. Do add salt to the water when cooking the soba.
In a saute pan add 1/2 tsp of oil and add the carrots and stir fry for 3 to 4 minutes.In a small bowl add about 3 tbsp of mirin. Remove the Carrots and put in the bowl with the mirin. Drain the mirin before moving the carrots to a serving dish.
In the same saute pan after the carrots are removed, add 1/2 tsp of oil and then add the ginger. Saute for a minute and then add the zucchini, and a pinch of salt. Stir fry 3 to 4 minutes, add 1 tsp of rice vinegar, Remove from heat once the vinegar evaporates. You won't need to add salt because of the vinegar but if you feel you want to, just add a pinch.  Remove from heat to a serving dish.
In a saute pan heat about 2 tsp of oil, once the oil heats up gently place the soaked tofu, turn every 3  to 4 minutes until all the sides are a nice brown. Remove from heat to a serving dish.

Now that all the side dishes are ready, place the drained cold noodles to a serving bowl. 
Now get all your sides  next to it - the Tofu, the Ginger- zucchini Stir fry, Stir Fried Carrots, a small bowl of toasted Sesame seeds, a small bowl of soya sauce, (optional) Roasted Nori - crumbled or small stripes.

To plate it, drizzle very little soya sauce on the noodles, topped with the toasted sesame seeds  and Nori. Serve the sides and enjoy!

I used Hakubaku Organic Cha Noodles that I received it as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program.
Read about some of the ingredients I used:
White Rice Vinegar

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bread Halwa

A very simple yet filling dessert- this bread halwa (sweet confection), is surprisingly tasty. In this recipe I have used a three seed Oatnut bread (any brand will do) ,  traditionally, plain sweet white bread is used, but I like the texture , and flavor the seeds and nuts bring. Please feel free to substitute and try with any other bread of  your liking. This here is for 1 serving or if you share , and don't have a very sweet tooth will serve two. So you might want to increase the quantity according to your requirement.


Three seed Oatnut Bread - 2 slices
Whole Milk - 1 cup
Sugar - 3 to 4 tbsp
Honey - 2 tsp
Slivered Almonds - 1tsp
Chopped Cashews - 1 tsp
Golden Raisins - 1 tsp
Ghee - 1 tsp

Crumble the bread in a mixer/ grinder (I find that crumbling them,  rather than just breaking to pieces / or just soaking them milk before hand, gives a better texture to the halwa). Heat the Ghee in a saute pan. Add the almonds and cashews and fry for a few seconds until golden brown.  Remove from heat and keep aside. Then to the same pan add the bread crumbs and fry in the remaining ghee for a minute or two until you see it changing color. Then add the milk and sugar, and continue to boil the milk on simmer until the milk is almost evaporated and the mixture starts to leave the side of the pan, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add  1/2 the almonds, cashews, all of the raisins, and 1 tsp of honey to the mixture and stir well. Remove from heat to serving bowl, garnish with the remaining dry fruits and honey. You can serve this warm or cold.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Spinach & Cabbage Pakoras / Fritters

When I was kid/ teenager/ adult (before marriage), every evening I would fervently wait for the evening snack, that my mother would make, hoping against hope that it would be pakoras, I really didn't care which type, as long as they were fried to that delicious golden hue. While pakoras are a common Indian snack, expecting it to be made every evening might be pushing it a bit far. But still I never gave up hope, and if perchance a miracle happens and pakoras are in front of us, you can be sure it would be wiped clean without a crumb left on the plate.These days of course pakoras are a rarity in my home, being health conscious and all. The good news is now when I go back home every couple of years, I find my niece and nephews also take after me, I am ashamed to say but looks like I haven't changed much,and we still manage to clean the plate off to a shine....
Every now and then my eyes do light up at the very thought...So now for some delicious piping hot pakoras

Spinach - 3 cups washed, drained and chopped well
Cabbage - 1 1/2 cup chopped small, washed and drained
Onion - 1/2 cup finely chopped
Besan - 2 cups
Cilantro leaves - 1/4  cup chopped.
Red Chili powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric Power - 1/2 tsp
Oil for Batter - 2 tsp
Salt to Taste

Oil  for deep frying

Mix all the ingredients except the oil meant to deep fry.  Use the oil as the binding medium for the mixture. The moisture in the washed spinach and cabbage along with the oil should make a thick batter.  Adjust salt and chili powder according to taste.
 Heat oil for deep frying the fritters, once the oil is hot, drop a little bit of batter , if it rises immediately the oil is ready, lower the heat to medium and drop in spoonful of batter, 6 - 8 nos. at a time, depending on the size of the pan , quantity of oil used to fry. Turn after 3-4 minutes and cook both sides until they are golden brown. Remove from the frying an and place them onto a absorbent napkin/paper. Serve hot with just tea or ketchup/ mint chutney.

You can also add one slice of bread that has been crumbled to the batter, but you would need to adjust the salt, chili powder and oil.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Mango Salad

Depending on how much time you have to make this salad - you can serve it as a warm salad or a cold salad. Here I have made the cold salad. On hot summer days go for the cold version of this salad and for those cool winters evenings try the warm salad. Either way this salad gains high points for the taste factor.


Ripe Mango - 1 1/2 cup  small cubes
Pearl Onions / Red Onion - 1/2 cup finely chopped
Lemon Juice - 1 tsp
Chili Powder - to season (according to taste)
Cilantro - To garnish
Olive Oil - 1/2 tsp
Salt - a pinch

For the cold salad, gently combine all the ingredients and serve chill.  Do make with a mango which is fully ripe and sweet yet holds it shape when cut. Other wise you might find the salad a bit mushy with all the juice oozing out of the mango.

For the  warm salad, Instead of cutting the mangoes in small cubes make larger chunks,  then grill the mango cubes, turning them often for 3 to 5 minutes. The grilling process helps heighten the flavors and caramelizes the sugars. If you can't grill, you can saute the cubes  in a pan on high heat and and once you see the mangoes browning,  remove from heat.  Gently combine with the other ingredients and serve immediately.